Update: Honda confirmed today that production of the Insight will end in summer 2014. However, the Honda Insight will continue to be sold at dealerships nationwide until supplies run out. "Our hybrid vehicle strategy will focus on new models aimed at delivering the class-leading fuel economy and performance our customers desire in segments that represent significant growth opportunities," American Honda senior vice president Mike Accavitti said in a statement.
The Honda Insight will soon be giving up its losing battle against the Toyota Prius in the hybrid race, according to a report from Bloomberg. The report says that production of the Honda Insight in Japan will end this month due to slow sales in the global market.
In the U.S., the Honda Insight has a dismal sales record compared with the popular Toyota Prius. The best year so far for the Honda Insight since its 2009 introduction was 2010, when Honda sold 20,962 units of the hybrid hatchback. That’s just a fraction of the Toyota Prius’ sales numbers, as Toyota’s hybrid has sold over 100,000 units per year since the second-generation model was introduced in 2005. In 2013, Honda Insight sales took even more of a nosedive, with only 4802 Insights sold in the U.S. That’s even lower than 2013 totals for several low-volume sports cars like the Porsche 911(10,442 units), the Nissan 370Z (6561 units), and the Mazda MX-5 Miata (5780 units).
The only Honda that sells worse than the Insight is the related Honda CR-Z hybrid, which only mustered 4550 sales in 2013. If the report of the Insight’s demise is correct, we would bet that the CR-Z is not long for this world either. Both of these models use Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid technology, an outdated mild-hybrid system that is slowly being replaced by Honda’s new two-motor hybrid system now available in the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid.
Honda representatives in the U.S. said they had no comment on the future of the Honda Insight, but noted that the automaker will continue to expand use of this new hybrid system, which is also used in the Japanese-market Honda Fit Hybrid.
According to Automotive News, Honda currently has a 237-day supply of Insight hybrids sitting in U.S. dealers, so even if production ends soon it could take a while to sell off this remaining inventory. The 2014 Honda Insight is still the cheapest hybrid available in the U.S. with its $19,515 starting price, and we would expect significant discounts over the next few months if this model is indeed on its way out. Although we have never been fans of the Insight’s unrefined powertrain and cheap interior, buyers may be able to find a great deal on this efficient hatchback that is rated at 41/44/42 mpg city/highway/combined by the EPA.